Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
The name Sprague is said to be derived from the Dutch spraak, meaning speech or language, and was probably bestowed in early days upon some one noted for his ready tongue. Other authorities find the root in the old Norse spraekr, signifying active, lively, nimble, the original of our modern springhtly. There are great variations in the spelling of the patronymic, some of the forms being Spreck, Sprake, Spraick, Sprackett, Spragg and Spragge.
The English Spragues achieved some renown on the sea, which probably accounts for their coat-of-arms. This emblem, on a field gules, has a fesse between three trefoils; crest, out of a naval crown, a demi-lion crowned. The naval crown was usually awarded to one who first boarded an enemy's ship. Sir Edward Spragge was knighted by Charles II, on board the ship "Royal Charles," for gallant conduct in engagement with the Dutch fleet. With Van Trimp, Spragge fought ship to ship. Sir Edward became vice-admiral of the red and admiral of the blue, and his courage was eulogized by Dryden in the "Annus Mirabilis." The immortal Pepys describes him as "brave and resolute," and adds: "He was a merry man who sang a pleasant song pleasantly."
In America the family dates back to the earliest days of colonial settlement. Francis Sprague, a member of the Plymouth Colony, with wife and daughter, came over in the ship "Ann" in 1623. Like others of that heroic band, he suffered from the poverty of the times to which Governor Bradford referred: "The best dish we can offer is a piece of fish, without bread, or anything else but a cup of fair spring water. This diet hath somewhat abated the freshness of our complexions, but God gives us health."
The three brothers, Ralph, Richard and William Sprague, in company with John Endicott, arrived at Naumkeag (Salem) in 1628. The name has been associated with many persons of distinction during different periods of our country's history.
Captain Richard Sprague, of Charlestown, Mass., was one of the band who imprisioned Sir Edmund Andros. At his death in 1703, Capt. Richard left money to various public institutions, among them Harvard College.
Samuel Sprague, of Hingham, Mass., was one of the band who assisted at the Boston tea party. His son, Charles Sprague, was the poet whose finished verse was admired during the early part of the nineteenth century. Three members of the family have served in the U. S. senate: Peleg Sprague, of Maine, 1829-1835; and the two William Spragues of Rhode Island, the first from 1842 to 1844, and the second from 1863 to 1875. The William Spragues who were uncle and nephew are perhaps better remembered as governors of their native state.
(I) Edward Sprague, born in England near the close of the sixteenth century, was a resident of Upway, county of Dorset, and a fuller by trade. His will was dated June 6, 1614, proved on Oct. 13 of that year, so his death must have occurred between those two dates. The inventory of his estate showed him to be possessed of goods and chattels to the value of nearly two hundred and sixty pounds, including thirteen silver spoons, one and twenty brass vessels, and the less intelligible item of "one willow, four old tubs with a hedlop." His livestock consisted of "one pyge, seven kyne, with three yearlings, one horse, fourscore sheep and forty-two lambs."
Edward Sprague's wife was named Christiana, but nothing further is known about her.
Ralph, Alice, Edward, Richard, Christopher and William (whose sketch follows).
(II) William, fifth son of Edward and Christiana Sprague, was born in Upway, England, about 1609, and died at Hingham, Mass., Oct. 26, 1675. With his elder brothers, Ralph and Richard, William (1) Sprague migrated to America in 1628. John Endicott was of the party, which came over in the interest of the Massachusetts Bay Company. They soon moved through the woods to what is now Charlestown, and according to Edward Everett when he made his address at the bi-centennial of Winthrop the Sprague brothers were "The founders of the settlement in this place, and were persons of substance and enterprise, excellent citizens, generous public benefactors, and the head of a very large and respectable family of descendants."
William Sprague remained at Charlestown till 1636, when he removed to Hingham, which was his home till his death, nearly forty years later. He owned considerable land there, was one of the seven members of the prudential committee in 1645, was disbursing officer of the town in 1662, also constable and fence-viewer.
William Sprague married Millesaint Eames, daughter of Anthony Eames; she died Feb. 8, 1696.
1. Anthony, born Sept. 2, 1635.
2. John, mentioned below.
3. Samuel, who moved to Marshfield and was the last secretary of the colony.
5. Jonathan, died at the age of five.
6. Perses, married John Doggett.
7. Joanna, married Caleb Church.
8. Jonathan, moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and was speaker of the house in 1703.
9. William, moved to Providence.
10. Mary, married Thomas King, of Scituate.
11. Hannah, died at the age of three years.
(III) John, second son of William (1) and Millesaint (Eames) Sprague, was born at Hingham, Mass., and baptized in April, 1638. He died at Mendon, Mass. in 1683, at the early age of forty-five. Land was given him by his father at Lyford river, called Sprague Island.
On Dec. 31, 1666, John Sprague married Elizabeth Holbrook.
Among their children was William (2), mentioned in the next paragraph.
(IV) William (2), son of John and Elizabeth (Holbrook) Sprague, was born at Mendon, Mass., in 1679.
(V) Willaim (3), son of William (2) Sprague, was born at Mendon, Mass., in 1719, and died at Greene, Maine.
(VI) William (4), supposed to be the son of William (3) Sprague, was born at Mendon, Mass. about 1759. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the revolution, about the time of the battle of Bunker Hill. After passing through several bloody engagements, he was at last severally wounded by a bullet which passed through both thighs. After the battle he was taken to a hospital, where he remained till well enough to travel, when he was honorably discharged. Soon after this he "shouldered his pack," and started on foot for Winthrop, "in the district of Maine." Reaching there, he started in quest of a farm, which he finally found in a part of the township of Greene. He built a log house which he and his wife occupied till 1783. At that time he had built a mill in which he sawed out lumber and put up a frame house. This, after completion, did not suit him, and he immediately began work on a kiln for drying brick. In this way he constructed the material for one of the first brick houses in the region. This house was owned and occupied by Colonel Augustus Sprague, grandson of the builder, up to about 1875.
About 1782 Col. William (4) Sprague married Anna Marrow, born at Medway, Mass. in Jan., 1761. It is probable that her parents were living in Winthrop, Maine, at the time of her marriage.
1. Moses, born Aug. 8, 1783.
2. Ruth, born Oct. 22, 1784.
3. Nancy, born Nov. 1, 1786.
4. Susan, born Sept. 15, 1788.
5. William, born Feb. 15, 1790.
6. Isaac, born Jan. 22, 1792.
7. Sally, born Feb. 19, 1794.
8. Charlotte, born April 18, 1796.
9. Isabella, born March 13, 1798.
10. Cyrus, born May 27, 1802.
11. Greene, whose sketch follows.
12. Washington, born March 4, 1807.
(VII) Greene, fifth son of Col. William (4) and Anna (Marrow) Sprague, was born in Greene, Maine, Aug. 18, 1804, died at Auburn, Maine, June 29, 1888. He was a carriagemaker by trade and a captain in the state militia.
In 1825 Capt. Greene Sprague married Mahala, daughter of Abel and Lydia Crocker.
Silas, mentioned below; William, b. June 3, 1828; and Lydia A., b. Sept. 12, 1833.
(VIII) Silas, eldest child of Capt. Greene and Mahala (Crocker) Sprague, was born at Greene, Maine, June 4, 1826, died Aug. 27, 1897. He gained his education in the public schools and at Monmouth Academy. He was elected register of deeds for Androscoggin county in 1867 and held this position for thirty years.
June 6, 1849, he married Cynthia Mower, daughter of James and Lucretia (Mower) Tibbetts, who was born Jan. 26, 1830 at Dexter, Maine.
Henry M., (see below), Edgar G. (see below) and Arthur C. (see below).
(IX) Henry M., eldest son of Silas and Cynthia M. (Tibbetts) Sprague, was born Aug. 15, 1850, at Greene, Maine, and educated in the public schools of his native town. From his youth he has been greatly interested in local military affairs, and has served in the volunteer militia as private, corporal, sergeant, second and first lieutenant and captain of the Auburn Light Infantry. He was lieutenant-colonel of the First Regiment of the Maine Volunteer Militia, and assistant adjutant-general of the First Brigade, Maine Volunteer Militia, from its organization in 1869 till the resingation of General John Marshall Brown.
Mr. Sprague was city clerk of Auburn for several years, and clerk in the office of the adjutant-general at Augusta during 1880-81-82-83-84. From 1885 to 1889 he was pension agent for the state of Maine, and was afterward adjutant-general and chief of staff with rank of brigadier-general on Governor Burleigh's staff, and his duties in this office were ably and faithfully dischared.
(IX) Edgar G., second son of Silas and Cynthia M. (Tibbetts) Sprague, was born April 29, 1855, at Greene, Maine, and was educated in the public schools of Auburn. His first position was that of clerk in the office of the register of deeds. In 1876 he entered the employ of Dingley, Strout & Company. In 1888, after he had been there twelve years, Mr. Sprague, in connection with others, reorganized this company as Dingley, Foss & Company, and in 1891 the concern was incorporated as Dingley Foss Shoe Company, with E. G. Sprague as treasurer, and has served in that capacity ever since.
In politics Mr. Sprague is a Republican, and in religious preference he is affiliated with the Baptists. He belongs to the Odd Fellows, and is a Mason of the thirty-second degree.
On Oct. 1, 1874, Edgar G. Sprague married Lilla B., daughter of James M. and Clara A. Gulliver, of Auburn.
Edgar Linn, born Nov. 10, 1875, who was educated in the public schools of Auburn. During the Spanish war he served as sergeant in Company C, First Maine Volunteers, being stationed at Chicamauga. While there he contracted malarial fever, which resulted in the impairment of his health. On May 5, 1903, Edgar L. Sprague married Beryl G. Stevens, of Auburn. One child, Charles William, born Oct. 20, 1905.
(IX) Arthur C., youngest son of Silas and Cynthia M. (Tibbetts) Sprague, was born at Greene, Jan. 4, 1861, and received his early education in the schools of his native town. In 1867 his father moved to Auburn, where the son attended the Edward Little high school, graduating therefrom in 1878. After completing his school education Mr. Sprague entered the Lincoln Mill as paymaster, remaining there five years. From this place he went to the R. C. Pingree Mill at Lewiston, where for seventeen years he was confidential clerk and cashier; afterward served as city treasurer of Auburn. In Feb., 1907, he purchased the F. H. Briggs interest of the Howard, Briggs and Pray Company, shoe manufacturers of Auburn, and became treasurer of this concern.
Mr. Sprague is a Mason of the thirty-second degree, secretary of Tranquil Lodge, No. 29, and recorder of Lewiston Commandery, Knights Templar.
On Dec. 19, 1883, Arthur C. Sprague married Jennie D., daughter of Cornelius and Susan Stackpole, of Auburn.
Alice H., born July 30, 1886, who is now (1908) teacher of elocution and physical culture in the public schools of Burlington, Vermont.